Maximum medical improvement or MMI is one of the critical concepts in a New Mexico workers' compensation case.
The New Mexico Workers' Compensation Act defines MMI as the following:
"As used in the Workers' Compensation Act, “date of maximum medical improvement” means the date after which further recovery from or lasting improvement to an injury can no longer be reasonably anticipated based upon reasonable medical probability as determined by a health care provider defined in Subsection C, E or G of Section 52-4-1 NMSA 1978."
What this means in ordinary language is that MMI is the time when an injured worker's recovery from his or her work injuries has plateaued and/or there is no more significant treatment for the work injuries. The injured worker may need ongoing prescriptions and maybe treatment such as physical therapy after MMI, but nothing serious like another surgery.
An injured worker can also be at MMI if he or she refuses to have a surgery or other serious treatment that is offered. An injured always has the right to decline medical treatment.
So, MMI is important because it is the time when the worker's medical treatment may stop or be significantly reduced.
MMI is also very important because it is the time when an injured worker's money benefits are reduced from the maximum benefit, also known as temporary total disability (TTD) benefits to a lower money benefit called permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits.
At MMI an injured worker is evaluated for a permanent physical and/or psychological impairment percentage rating. That percentage is a measure of the injured worker's permanent injuries and is basis for calculating the lower PPD money benefit.
Hopefully, you know more about the concept of maximum medical improvement or MMI in a New Mexico workers' compensation case.
MMI is a critical time in a workers' compensation case, and if an injured worker has not retained a lawyer, the worker should do that as soon as possible to protect his or her rights to the maximum money benefit and, if possible, to formulate a plan for ongoing future medical treatment.
So, if you think you're approaching MMI or are at MMI, please contact me.